Seeker-Friendly Church Model Failing Our Youth

Youth want raw truth.  They sense impending disaster and their hope and optimism of a bright future is being sucked from them.
Youth want raw truth. They sense impending disaster and their hope and optimism of a bright future is being sucked from them. (Flickr/Creative Commons)
I just received a disturbing report of two young pastors who, in their attempts to reach more youth and college age students, are toning down on all things Holy Ghost related. How can you possibly call yourself a New Testament church pastor and come to this conclusion? From where does this persuasion come from?

Unfortunately, this has become a disturbing trend across the country in many churches. Church worship resembles a rock concert performance (honestly, even Charismatics and Pentecostals know so little about true worship). Singers and musicians are like celebrities. Some of them even lead gay lifestyles and nothing is ever said.

Robotic predictable services are the norm. Being nice to everyone and tolerant of anyone living a sinful lifestyle is promoted. This is now the pop culture of a multitude of churches.  

One honest question: What happens when youth discover the real Jesus, the real gospel, and the raw power of God? Let me inform you now before it all comes down. There will be a mass exodus from these apostate churches.

Apostate??? Isn't that a bit strong to label them apostate? Any church that has left New Testament Christianity, which hinges on the demonstration of the Spirit and power of God, is apostate. Any church that has left the wisdom of God and put their faith in the wisdom and philosophies of men is a traitor to the highest cause.

Another report came in right on the heels of this one of a senior pastor and his staff from a large church returning from a church conference supposedly armed with this new and higher wisdom to grow their church to mega proportions.

Once again, as is becoming the pattern for so many churches now, they implemented drastic measures to remove anything and everything that resembles the manifestations of the Holy Ghost and the power of God. They stifled every prayer meeting in the church with guidelines and limitations but no liberty. They changed the culture of the church into a coffee house atmosphere and made the uncommon so common—bringing sacred things to a base level. Such irreverence seems to be the norm.

Older people with spiritual sense who have been in this particular church for years are now leaving.

It is hard to believe. The only sensible explanation is that there has been a thick cloud of deception that church leaders are being sucked into that has made them delusional.

The seeker-friendly church template prides itself on doing church services so as not to offend anyone. It is consumer based and designed to draw and attract the multitudes who want to relate to Christianity without being delivered from their sins and adhering to the demands of Jesus for being His true follower.

Frankly, all this ideology does is cause youth to see God only as a divine therapist. It results in many young people thinking that God simply wants them to feel good, do good, be told how wonderful they are, and have all their dreams come true.

Even adults don't expect much from our church youth pastors any more. They just simply hope that they can somehow keep their kids off drugs and away from pre-marital sex. And if they find out they're gay, well, just love and accept them anyway. Who cares if they go to hell, right?

The real responsibility lies with parents and pastors for inspiring youth. But what are they doing to inspire them? They are unwittingly passing down a watered down version of Christianity to them. Youth apathy is to be blamed on adults.

Most churches don't give youth enough to be wholly passionate about. The Christianity a majority of them are being fed does not fuel them with fire.

Most young people are embracing a nebulous belief in God and yet stats show an increase in youth passion to make the world a better place. We think young people want ice cream and cake, but they actually want steak and potatoes.

Meanwhile, Muslims are training their youth for combat and dying for their cause of world domination while we are teaching our young people to be nice.

The radical faith of our leaders and elders is what will convey more to their children and youth than a multitude of sermons and nice talks. It has to register with our youth and children that faith is supposed to make you live radically different.

Let us rid ourselves of these humanistic philosophies and vain deceits. Teaching our young people to obey God rather than man is not going to offend them. Revolting and opposing man-made laws that contradict the Word of God and encouraging civil disobedience against our antichrist government and schools is not going to turn off our youth. Opposing Obama and not addressing the core of our nation's problems will not drive them away. On the contrary, this will actually open the door to their hearts. They blame him for destroying their future.  It may look hip and cool to some preachers to remain silent, but many youth consider them traitors.

Youth feel a huge let down when they go to church and get nothing challenging.   

Pastors, it is high time to openly preach the entire message of Jesus Christ, including the cross, the blood of Jesus, and hell.  This will touch our youth deeply.

Youth want raw truth. They sense impending disaster and their hope and optimism of a bright future is being sucked from them. They know they need something eternal that will never fade away. They need a cause far greater than themselves. They need something more than the American dream of health, wealth, and happiness. They want rock-solid ground to stand on, not fantasy-land sinking sand.

Getting out of God's way is our greatest challenge. Letting go of our own thimble sized earthly wisdom and giving God control is not so easy for many pro-activist, high-strategist type–A personalities. Youth want the power of God to demonstrate to them God's personal love and reality. This will make evangelists out of them. They will tell their friends about Jesus.

If you design your services and meeting times around the Holy Ghost and the power of God, your youth will not be spooked.  What a crock of lies to even think that! Instead there will be a look of awe and wonder when real miracles start happening.

Forget about trying to "relate" to youth. This philosophy is overrated. Don't waste your planning on trying to create an atmosphere where youth feel you are being relevant. Youth feel a huge let down when they go to church and are not challenged.

"The millennial generation's much-talked-about departure from church might lead those of us over 30 to conclude that they have little interest in Jesus. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Unfortunately, their spiritual coming of age has coincided with many Protestant pastors relying on a consumer business model to grow and sustain their churches. This template for doing church and the millennials' hunger for authenticity has caused an ideological collision." – Dorothy Greco

May this collision reach unprecendented proportions until this generation realizes that the modern milquetoast brand of Christianity has cheated them and ripped them off.

It is then they will run to Jesus.

Bert M. Farias, revivalist and founder of Holy Fire Ministries, is the author of several books including The Real Spirit of Revival and the newly released, Prayer: The Language of the Spirit, as well as the highly acclaimed My Son, My Son—a beautiful father-son memoir co-written with his son Daniel for the purpose of training up a holy generation. He ministers interdenominationally and cross-culturally in nations, churches, conferences, crusades, on the streets, and in homes. He and his wife also host The Holy Ghost Forum—a school of the Spirit. Follow him at Bert Farias and Holy Fire Ministries on Facebook or @Bertfarias1 on Twitter.

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